Yes, in the hands of a great director paired with a brilliant cinematographer such as seen in Gone with the Wind, the visual can overpower the book. I do know, however, that there were many books that I have read in the past that were never done the justice they deserved by the film. Stephen Kings books for example, have never been done correctly in film form. His talent in the written word has yet to be captured by a camera. I don’t know if it is the director’s lack of vision or the screenplay but the glaring difference between the two genre’s is shocking.
But then, like I stated with the example of Gone with the Wind, the right director, cinematographer and actors can bring the book even more to life on the big screen than the book ever could. The burning of Atlanta seen on film stays with you much longer than the scene on the written page. Usually the main issue I have with the movie version of the book I read, is the casting/acting. I always enjoy the journey I take with the characters in the book in question, and when the movie doesn’t share the vision I had in my head, the viewing experience is diminished in my eyes. I can get possessive of my artistic interpretation of the book and if the director doesn’t agree with my interpretation, I am not a satisfied audience member.
It is all an individual experience and we are lucky that books are still so important to us that film directors launch bidding wars for works of literature, science fictions, drama and comedy and so on. I must admit that after seeing all the Harry Potter movies, I’m glad that I didn’t read a single book, because my experience as a movie goer was pure and simple entertainment and wonder. I know quite a few avid Potter readers, who yelled and complained that the films didn’t honor the books enough but since I didn’t want to read them I was a very happy customer. Why did I not want to read them? My two children were old enough to read them on their own, and I was reading my own stuff. But I was glad to go to the movies. The same thing happened with the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, I had read all the books but it had been so long that I was rusty in the details. The sheer brilliance of Peter Jackson, the director and his cinematographer really brought those books to life even more vividly than my own imagination. His vision of middle earth and its inhabitants was extraordinary. I count myself lucky to have the opportunity to read and see movies and complain if I want to about how the movie didn’t do the book justice or leave a movie saying wow, what a brilliant director, he really got the book.